Generational Dynamics: Forecasting America's Destiny Generational
 Forecasting America's Destiny ... and the World's


Generational Dynamics Web Log for 23-Oct-06
Pundits are predicting major policy changes after the Democratic election win

Web Log - October, 2006

Pundits are predicting major policy changes after the Democratic election win

But no one is saying what they might be.

Expected election results as of Sunday, Oct 22, 2006
Expected election results as of Sunday, Oct 22, 2006

Last week's results (Oct 15, 2006)
Last week's results (Oct 15, 2006)

To take one example, I listened to the This Week With George Stephanopoulos pundit panel on Sunday morning. It went on for about 15 minutes, saying the same things over and over:

This panel, like almost all the other pundits I heard, are predicting that everything will proceed exactly as it did in the 1970s, when the Democratic-led Congress did all of the above things.

In other words, they're predicting an exact replay of the end of the Vietnam war.

There's one very big thing missing, however: There is no widespread call for immediate withdrawal from Iraq, as there was for the Vietnam war.

During CNN's Sunday news show (with Wolf Blitzer) I made some quick notes about what various politicians said on the question of what we should do next.

Only one person said anything on Sunday that was actually interesting.

When Wolf Blitzer said, "If the public thinks the government is broken with a Republican president and a Republican house and a Republican senate, wait till there's a Democratic house of representatives, maybe even Senate, then this notion of a broken government could even escalate.

Ed Henry, CNN's White House correspondent, said this:

"We interviewed Dan Rostenkowski, former Ways and Means chairman, [who] talked about the days when Ronald Reagan was President and then Democrats ran the hill, and you would assume that they got absolutely nothing done. They fought like cats and dogs, but they still legislated, still governed. They had a major compromise in tax reform, for example, in 1986. You never would have thought that someone as conservative as Ronald Reagan and as liberal as Rostenkowski and Tip O'Neill could work together. but the fact is they did. And so, I think you can turn that notion on its head a bit, and say that sometimes divided government, when the Democrats have one part of government and the Republicans have the other, sometimes both sides have a stake in getting things done."

This is something that I've talked about before: That the federal government is paralyzed, not only in America, but in countries around the world. Even Alan Greenspan said the budget was out of control, and that Congress was doing nothing.

In the early 1980s, it was quite a joke that Republican President Ronald Reagan and Democratic Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill would say nasty things about each other at press conferences, but that the two Irishmen would get together in the evening, have beers and tell jokes to one another.

In fact, the Republicans and Democrats did get things done in the 1980s. As Ed Henry said, the Democrats and Republicans got together and passed a tax reform law. They cooperated with each other to change the Social Security system to make it a sounder system. After that, they cooperated again to specify new rules to control the budget deficit. Even as late as 1996, Democratic President Bill Clinton cooperated with the Republican congress to eliminate the welfare entitlement.

This was all accomplished by people in the G.I. generation that fought in World War II, and by others who survived WW II. These people defeated the Nazis and beat the Depression, and they set up structures like the United Nations, World Bank, and World Health Organization to manage the world. Those organizations worked as long as they were being run by the Heroes of World War II.

Today they're being run by Boomers and Xers (people in the Baby Boomer generation, born after the war, and Generation X, born in the 60s and 70s) who have no idea how to run these organizations, or how to get things done.

Boomers are arrogant and narcissistic, and don't know how to do anything but argue with people. Xers are angry and alienated, and also don't know how to do anything but argue with Boomers. So the result is the near-total gridlock paralysis we see, and the extremely vitriolic, hate-filled political atmosphere. And the same kind of thing is happening in all the countries that fought in WW II.

Nancy Pelosi on <i>60 Minutes</i>, Sunday, Oct 22, 2006
Nancy Pelosi on 60 Minutes, Sunday, Oct 22, 2006

If the Democrats take over the House, then Nancy Pelosi will replace Dennis Hastert as Speaker. Can you imagine Nancy Pelosi getting together with George Bush and telling jokes to one another? I can't imagine that scene. I CAN imagine scenes where the Secret Service would have to protect Bush from being stabbed in the balls with a fork.

Nanci Pelosi has promised to "restore civility" to Washington if she becomes Speaker of the House, but on 60 Minutes on Sunday evening, Leslie Stahl said this to Pelosi in an interview: "You have called your Republican colleagues - these are quotes - immoral, corrupt, you say they're running a criminal enterprise -- I mean, you're one of the reasons we have to restore civility in the first place."

Pelosi replied, "Well actually when I called them those names, I was being gentle. There are much worse things I could have said about them."

So much for improved civility.

The same kind of thing also happened in America during our previous generational crisis periods. The Republicans were vitriolic against Franklin Roosevelt in WW II, and the Democrats were vitriolic against Abraham Lincoln in the Civil War.

But even though the level of vitriol and hatred in Washington will only get worse, and possibly much worse, and even though the gridlock and paralysis will only continue, or get worse (if that's possible), it's probably still better if the Democrats win control of both houses of Congress.

The reason is that the "clash of civilizations" world war is inevitable, and it will be better for the country if both parties are forced to cooperate with one another, as we're forced to make decisions that will affect the survival of America. (23-Oct-06) Permanent Link
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